What is Zoning?

You may have heard of development tools such as zoning and overlays, but do you know how they help shape our city?

Zoning is the main tool the City uses to help balance growth and create sustainable communities that meet the diverse, evolving needs of Edmontonians. Communities where everyone has access to the roads, parks, schools, shops and places to work that make our city a great place to live.

There are six main zones in Edmonton – residential, commercial, industrial, urban service, agriculture, and specialty areas – each containing a series of regulations that determine how land is used. Together, these regulations make up Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw.

The Zoning Bylaw controls what types of buildings are allowed to be built in certain areas, the height and basic shape of these buildings, and the types of activities or businesses allowed. This helps minimize conflicts and ensure that the places where we live, work and play fit together. For example, it’s nice to have two houses next to each other but it’s not so nice to have a loud, smelly factory next to a house.

Except for some specialty areas, such as Direct Control Provisions, the regulations in the Zoning Bylaw generally do not control the architectural style of buildings. The Zoning Bylaw does, however, contain overlays – a set of additional zoning rules applied to special areas around the city.

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Overlays can add to or override the rules of underlying zones to help support a certain look or feel of a specific area. There are 16 overlays in Edmonton, including the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (MNO).

Created in 2001, the MNO applies to Edmonton’s mature and established neighbourhoods and helps new development fit in with existing older communities that feature tree-lined streets and smaller lots. The current MNO contains 24 regulations that modify the existing zoning, including more specific regulations for the amount of space between buildings and property lines, window placement and driveway locations, among other things.

With the recent influx of new development in our mature neighbourhoods, the City is reviewing the MNO to make sure it continues to meet our city’s needs. The MNO review is action 17 on Edmonton’s Infill Roadmap, the City’s two-year work plan for advancing infill in Edmonton

For more information on development tools, including a new booklet on zoning, and the MNO, visit edmonton.ca/matureneighbourhoodoverlay.

This video and blog post is the first in our five-part Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (MNO) series. The series showcases the role zoning and the MNO play in shaping Edmonton’s mature neighbourhoods.